Monday, July 8, 2013

Here We Go!

July 8, 2013

Dearest Family,

Mission life is CRAZY! There's a minute to breathe every now and then, but that's about it. My mission journal will reflect that. My first day in the field-- I forgot to write! Oh well. The next two days I wrote about three words. There's just no time and I'm SO tired at the end of every day. On Monday we flew in to Denver. We got up and loaded onto a shuttle at 4:30ish AM. There were the 14 original going to Denver, and an additional 4 visa missionaries (waiting to go to Brazil) who were reassigned to our mission. President and Sister Murdock actually drove to Denver the Thursday before. They met us at the airport with the APs. We had a long orientation all day and individual interviews with the Murdocks. We had dinner at the mission home and spent the night there.

Then, on Tuesday morning, we had transfer meeting. I was assigned to serve with Elder Curth in the Ken Caryl / Coal Mine area (those are the names of the two wards we cover) in the Columbine Stake in Littleton, CO. Everything is named Columbine! Columbine Meadows, Columbine Street, Columbine High School (yes, THE Columbine High School). I have expressed multiple times how weird it seems to me, because the word Columbine is synonymous in my mind with the shooting. I told Elder Curth it was like naming a neighborhood "Al Qaida Meadows"... Anywhoo!!

We went to our apartment on Tuesday. We live in an older single sister's basement, Sister Dekle (dee-kuhl). It smells funny, the ceilings are low, we have no kitchen, just some hotplates, microwave, sink, toaster oven and a mini fridge. Oh, and the bathroom door doesn't close. My bed feels like someone took a mattress-sized slab of jello and put a piece of particle board on top of it. But I put a comforter under the sheets and it's not too bad, especially because I'm so tired when I go to bed. So, we have done about two billion and a half things since I got here... Even if I tried, I couldn't tell you all of them. We're working with a lot of less-active members. There's an unfortunate amount of them here... One is a midget named Chris. He's a nice guy. The other day, we had a steak dinner at a member's house, and then Chris took us out to Texas Roadhouse... Elder Curth is crazy and he ate a bunch at both dinners. He's not fat, though. He's actually really ripped, you know, like, in shape. By the way, this is Elder Curth's last transfer, which means I will be "killing" him in a few weeks. Everyone here is weird about going home. Whenever someone asks a missionary in their last transfer how long they've been out they say, "Just over a year..."

We have a bunch of investigators, and a few of them are nearly prepared to be baptized. A lot of them, though, have been taught for years and are making very, very slow progress. People have a lot of trouble with the Word of Wisdom here. So, rewind.

On my first night here, I was a little down about the apartment and the difficulty of the work and so on. When I got in bed that night, I squeezed Elder Monkey tight and felt pretty homesick. But not for Mesa. For the MTC!! I just wanted to be back with my friends in Provo!! I miss them all so much. Fortunately, though, one of them, Sister Baker from my district, is in my district here in the field!! We're actually in the same room right now emailing. The Sisters are much more mature than the Elders, even though the elders are older now... Most of the Elders here are immature and irreverent, with a little lack of care for some of the more simple rules. It's discouraging. I never really thought of the Tempe mission as a good place to serve, but now I know that it is an AWESOME mission! I'm jealous of the missionaries who get to serve there. I know I always said I wouldn't live in Arizona after I graduated from college, but I don't think I ever want to live anywhere other than Mesa/Gilbert. Except Provo, and maybe Utah, I don't know. But be glad about that! There are good people here, but it's just different and I love love love the social and spiritual atmosphere where we live (in Arizona).

So, to sum up-- This week has been difficult. I haven't received a single letter from home. Just your emails. I appreciate them!! I want to do the best I can as a missionary, but it's not easy. I want to be exactly obedient, and it's difficult. My favorite thing to do is personal study, because I feel really close to the Lord. I need to work on loving the people and forgetting myself. Days pass slooooowly. But Sister Piton in the MTC said that on a mission the days feel like weeks, the weeks feel like months, and the months feel like days. I'm working on being positive and just adjusting to missionary life, really. It's tough. I can't honestly say yet that I'm having the best time of my life. The MTC was GREAT! But I know that this is a furnace of affliction, and that I'm gaining so much in character and in experience here that I couldn't do any other way.

I love you all! My prayers are with you!

My address is:                      Elder Jake Rogers
C/O Dekle Home
7659 S. Holland Way
Littleton, CO 80128

Love your missionary,

Elder Rogers! :)

P.S. I'll try to send some pictures in a follow-up email.

A Thought from Mom:

D&C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there will I be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."


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